When you work in commercial real estate agency, you should start your day strongly and with focus. Get as much done as you can before other disruptions start to take over (and they will).
It is a fact that things in commercial real estate agency will happen daily that you do not expect. That being said, there are still key things that you need to do every day to improve your market share and client connections. If you overlook these things, you will soon have less commission coming in and you will also be missing on the quality listing stock.
So to start strong every day, you need a plan and a process. Action is everything in our industry and directed action can allow you to form habits. It is the habits that will take you forward as a professional in our industry.
Here are some ideas to help you with effectiveness and focus as a commercial real estate agent.
- It is easier to control the start of the day than it is to control the whole day. If you can control 1/3 your day, you can be quite successful and effective as an agent. Plan your activities so that your working day can and will be under your control from 7 am. to 11 am. Don’t let others change or modify your diary before 11 am.
- Prospect every morning from 8 am to 10 am. Get your outbound cold calls done then. That one single process will be critical to your market share. It is interesting to note that most top agents do this. Struggling agents overlook the process or avoid it.
- Talk to your clients from 10 am to 11 am. After 11 am the pressures of the day can take over so get to your important clients on key issues early. You can do the same thing at the end of the day and in the evening.
- Look after your database yourself. Only you have the information that should go into it, and only you are going to benefit from it being correctly used. If you go into your database every day you can shape the information and use it to your advantage. Ongoing contact and trust in our industry is a really big thing.
- As you move through the day and the week, track your numbers and ratios relating to calls out, meetings, presentations, listings, inspections, and deals closed. You should also track your exclusive listings as they will do more for your market share than open listings.
So you can see that the key thing here is control. When you are in control you can get more of the right things done. That is how you move up in the industry.
The commercial real estate market of today has some challenges to deal with. In most cases it is a slow market or there is an abundance of unsold properties, and or vacant premises for lease.
The property market doesn’t disappear; it just changes. That change factor is what we as commercial real estate agents can help with. We become the ‘agents of change’ and can provide the right solutions for property investors, business owners, and tenants. People need our help in many different ways.
If you are finding that things are a bit tough at the moment for you as a Real Estate Agent, have a look at the way in which you are doing things. Today you need a ‘toolbox’ of solutions to help the clients and prospects in today’s property market.
Creativity and relevance are the two facts to aim for here. Are you creative in marketing your properties for sale or lease? Are you relevant as a top agent in this type of property market? Generic agents struggle in this type of market because they do not have the ideas and strategies active to solve property problems for clients.
So let’s give you some ideas to put into your agent toolbox for commercial real estate sales and leasing.
- Have all the market facts and information at your fingertips for the particular property type and deal that needs to be done. You cannot change the client’s perception without the right information.
- Check out all the competing properties locally before you meet with your client. Be very familiar with prices and rents that are being asked. Time on market assessments will also be of value in helping the client see what is going on today.
- Have stories of success with other local properties and listings that you can share. Most clients will listen to the experiences of other properties and clients.
- Have alternatives for the client to choose from. When alternatives are available, the decision to be made is less difficult. Most clients will choose the ‘middle ground’ alternative.
- When you list any property, set the rents and prices for today’s market. The client’s perspective on price or rent should be challenged if it is too unrealistic. You do not want to waste your time or theirs in the listing process.
- Provide the solutions that the market needs including personal marketing systems that will allow you to take the listing to the right people in your database and the right local property owners.
Help the parties make decisions. In many respects our clients and prospects are just looking for the right agent that can solve their issues quickly and effectively.
In commercial real estate today, you must get the pricing and marketing strategy right when it comes to listing the property. Competing properties and economic pressures mean that the rates of enquiry for the average property are less. We as agents must do more with less when it comes to attracting enquiry and converting offers on a property. As part of that process, our clients should be realistic when it comes to listing and marketing their property.
As a general rule, highly priced listings with clients that are beyond the reality current market conditions should be declined. Let some other agent struggle with the listing.
So the pricing of a property is really important. The client will have their own impression of what the property is worth however it is likely to be inflated and not aligned to the market conditions. Here are some rules to help you with the pricing and marketing of your listings.
- All of your listings should be exclusive listings. Open listings are a waste of time as you cannot control the enquiry and stock. Only take on open listings if you want to have the property on your books; in other words you believe you can take some prospects to the property.
- The property type and the market will have some impact on how long you should take on an exclusive listing. Generally speaking, an exclusive listing should be for between 4 and 6 months. If you have not sold or leased it by then, it is likely to be a ‘dead listing’ that should be taken off the market for some time to ‘freshen up’.
- Check out the competing properties in your area before you quote prices on a property to be listed. Understand why those properties are on the market and why they have not sold or leased yet. Do not repeat the mistakes of those other listings.
- New property developments will have an impact on the supply and demand for property locally. The zoning of the property will also have a factor to consider on the listing price structure. Study these factors and determine how they impact your property and the client.
- Review the improvements in the property, together with the services and amenities provided. Are they of relevance to the market today, or do they require upgrade? Degraded or poorly maintained properties should be carefully considered prior to the start of any marketing campaign.
- The price of a property will be impacted by the method of sale, so chose the method of sale that buyers will react to in a positive way. The first 6 weeks of a marketing campaign are really important and you must optimise your enquiry chances.
Look at all of these things together with the factors of location for each listing. The location could have a major impact on your property marketing campaign and pricing structure. A successful property sale is the result of careful planning and the right decisions.
In this commercial property market, you really do need to market yourself comprehensively and consistently to the clients and prospects that you deal with. Your competitors will be doing everything possible to undermine your listings, attract your clients, and interfere with your leads and opportunities. It’s a tough industry, but it is also very rewarding for those agents that can systemize their actions and keep up their focus.
There is nothing new here of course when I say that it’s a tough business world today; our industry is competitive. Before everything else in commercial real estate, you must be a good marketer of your skills and services. Every day you should be reaching into your database of contacts to consolidate your brand even further.
Here are some tips to help you consolidate your personal marketing plan as a top commercial real estate agent.
- From a marketing perspective, you will always get more leads and opportunities from quality listings. This then says that most of your listing efforts should be directed towards properties of quality and desirability. If you list low grade properties, you will attract low grade enquiry. Get to know the right people with the best properties locally, and network them regularly.
- Each listing that you take on should be a controlled listing. This means that your listings should be ‘exclusive’ by nature. You should have control of those listings for a reasonable period of time. Avoid open listings unless you really believe you can find the right person to take the property on. Open listings are generally a waste of time given that you have no control over the stock. In the open listing scenario, the clients are always listening to many agents at the same time and are therefore quite untrustworthy.
- Every quality controlled listing should be supported by a dedicated marketing program and vendor paid marketing funds. This then goes back to the point and the importance of exclusive listings. The equation is quite simple. When you control the stock, you control the enquiry, and therefore you can close on more successful transactions.
- A successful sales or lease transaction should be communicated into the local business community and the surrounding property owners. Any success that you have with a listed property is an excuse to spread the word of the positive result. Be known as the local real estate agent of success and results. Spread the message of your success locally. Most of your leads and opportunities will come from the local property market exclusively.
- Every quality listing and exclusive listing should be personally marketed into the surrounding property owners and business community. This means lifting the telephone to talk to the right people, and door knocking the streets surrounding the listed property. Use every listing as an excuse to talk to more people.
In this property market today, there is an abundance of stock and a shortfall of qualified enquiries. Some buyers and tenants cannot act in a market like this today. For this very reason, every listing that you bring into your books should be optimized for maximum enquiry and market penetration. Use that quality listing to get the message to the market.
You can get more tips like this in our Newsletter right here.
In commercial real estate agency today so many salespeople and leasing executives struggle with cold calling. They find it frustrating and quite soon they will find something else to do. Unfortunately cold call prospecting is then avoided for the future; they incorrectly move away from the one thing that can change their lead conversions forever.
So what stops you from making the calls? Here is a good list:
- Poor organisation
- Call reluctance
- No dialogue
- No momentum
- No database
- Lack of a prospect list
- Clients, etc
Make no mistake, cold calling is hard but it does produce volumes of results when you improve your call contact systems. It takes a mindset and a process that should be practiced.
All of this being said, there are some very simple things that you can do that will help you radically with the call contact process; one of the most effective is based on two simple words. The words are ‘stand up’.
When I say ‘stand up’ I am referring to you standing up when you make your contact and cold calls. So many top real estate agents do it; you probably do it now when you are making a mobile telephone call as you walk!
The fact of the matter is that your call quality and conversational ability is a lot higher when you stand up and talk on the telephone. There is something in moving and talking at the same time that goes well together. Whatever the secret is, you should try it and use it.
The benefits here are quite clear:
- More call confidence
- Better conversational ability
- Better tonality in the call voice
- ‘Right brain’ thinking as you talk
If you put all of these factors together you will find that those hard to make cold calls will be a lot easier for you. It really doesn’t really matter if you have clients and prospects in commercial or retail property sales, leasing, or property management, the fact of the issue is that you should be making lots of cold calls each week to people that you have not spoken to before. That’s how you build market share.
Start to work on you mindset and use the ‘stand up’ process to improve you call conversations and dialogue. Quite soon you will see some new confidence in the calling process; when that happens you will convert more meetings. A good result, don’t you think?
In commercial real estate today and in your agency, it is necessary to have a good selection of quality listings. Quality listings will always create solid enquiry in any market. It is those quality listings that will help you with dominating your territory and converting more commissions.
It is an observed fact that low quality listings produce poor enquiry. It is much harder to build your market share and listing opportunity as a commercial real estate agent from poor quality listings. That being said, it is also the case that open listings produce poor quality commercial real estate activity. As a priority, pursue exclusive listings for a lengthy period of time with all of your clients. In this way, you will control market enquiry and convert more transactions personally.
So here are some rules that should apply to the prospecting process in helping you with your market share and future commercial real estate business opportunities.
- Get to know your territory intimately. That will mean on a street by street basis and or property by property basis. Your territory should not be too large or too complex. You cannot be a commercial real estate specialist to everybody and every property type.
- Identify the existing properties on the market today and their time on market. There will be reasons for properties not selling or not renting. In each case you should review the competing properties and competing agencies to understand the errors in marketing and the poor performance of some of the salespeople involved. Over time you can market yourself around weaker agencies and properties that have not been correctly promoted.
- Prospecting should be undertaken on a daily basis for at least 2 or 3 hours. That should be the number one activity in your diary regardless of anything else. When you set this rule and stick to it, you will achieve more market share and market intelligence. Over time this will have a major impact on your commissions. Cold calling should feature as a main component of your prospecting efforts. This requires special diligence and commitment, but the rewards are many.
- Get to know the businesses throughout your local territory. Those local business proprietors will understand and potentially help identify for you the changes to property in the local area. Over time those businesses will also be looking for alternative premises to lease and or rent. Those businesses can also be a great source of sale and leaseback activity.
- It is very easy to approach businesses as part of your prospecting model. On that basis it should occur every day. You will gain valuable market intelligence from the process. It is somewhat harder to identify property owners and approach them. That is mainly because they hide behind company structures and property trusts. Create a list of prime properties in your region so that you can gradually work through the potential property ownership structures and identify the right people to talk to. It will take time, however the results are significant.
While this list is not finite or complete, it will give you the foundation for the prospecting process to commence. The commercial real estate industry is very much personally orientated and built on relationships. Over time you must build relationships with key people, business proprietors, and property investors.
In commercial real estate agency it is easy to get distracted on things that will do nothing for your business or market share. In many respects, the easiest way forward is not the best way. Consistent action is required every day to build your market share in commercial real estate sales and leasing. In that way you can proceed and grow the listing and commission opportunity as an agent.
The top agents of the industry work to a system or a plan. They know the things that are required to help them move ahead. They do those things every day. It is the system that is taking them forward.
You hear so many wise and experienced salespeople in the industry say that nothing happens until you take action; they would be right, it is however the right action that is required so you can build your market. You will know your market and the changes that are underway; those changes will give you priorities in action and focus.
Look for the Changes
Every month and every year the property market changes with respect to property enquiry, time on market, and listing quality. Staying ahead of those changes will help you match the right actions to the market that exists. So what can you do? Try some of these:
- Building your new business prospects just has to be number one on your diary of activity as a commercial real estate agent. When you do this you will find that the market will offer lots of opportunity.
- Keep track of new property developments so you can watch the balance of supply and demand that may have impact on your property type or in your territory.
- Keeping your listings moving ahead at all times. Exclusive listings are really important in this process. Open listings are basically a waste of time unless you know that you have a buyer or tenant available now or soon.
- Connecting with Clients has to continue in all markets and at all times. A good database will help you do just that. How many prospects and clients should you have in your database that you regard as high value and active? The answer is about 300. It takes time to build those numbers but the process works. You may have more contacts than that now, however the number of 300 relates to the key people that you believe that may have momentum and want some property help in the future.
- Work to a system of prospecting and cold calling on a regular daily basis. Each day a call system will create new meetings if you call enough people. So how many people should you call each day? The answer is about 40. You will not get through to 40 people but you should get through to at least 15 people and of those you should be able to get at least one meeting with some opportunity.
Set clear targets for listings, prospecting, meetings, and contracts or leases. Use a database to capture all of your contacts and meetings on a daily basis.
When it comes to commercial real estate agency as a career, the only thing that really matters in your business model is your prospect list. The more comprehensive and relevant your personal prospect list, the better the opportunities you will have as a real estate agent. Opportunities are many things to many salespeople however in commercial property sales and leasing, the list of opportunities are something like this:
- More business owners seeking to relocate or expand premises
- More tenants looking to leave their current premises
- Buyers seeking to purchase new property in your area
- More property owners wanting to invest
- More investors seeking to change their property ownership or portfolio
- More owner occupiers seeking to start business in a new location
Many agents ask me as to how many prospects they should have. Whilst the answer is relevant to your market and property speciality, generally the answer is in excess of 300 prospects. Ideally the number should be 600. These people are prospects that you can relate to and will take your call. They know you as a property expert and recognise that you are a local property expert.
Do you tick these boxes? Do these prospect list criteria fit your current database and prospecting system? If not, you have some work to do.
There are only two ways to build a prospect list fast. That is by making cold calls every day and then by getting out into your territory to meet property owners and occupiers. As simple as these issues seem, they take a lot of personal work and consistency. Many salespeople do not do either of these things very well; that is simply because they get distracted or prefer to do other things.
So this then opens the door for the agents and salespeople that have the discipline to make the calls and meet the people. Add to this a great database system and you have the permanent solution for building your real estate business.
In saying that you need a database, far too many salespeople spend a large amount of time on selecting the right database program or software. The facts indicate that you do not need a complex database or system. You need something simple that you can use easily each and every day.
Importantly your first database should be simple enough to transport and export data from. When you get to the day where you want to move your database to a special program that you have just purchased, the ability to export data will be critical. So many agents have been frustrated by this very fact. When you start your database system, make sure that the program lets you export your data in some common format to other programs. When in doubt seek expert help.